Sakset/Fra hofta

T brødre -Abdul Rashid Ghazi og Maulana Abdul Aziz, har utfordret Musharraf fra Lal Masjid, eller Den røde moské i Islamabad.

De har drevet ren terror mot omgivelsene: en kvinne ble kidnappet og måtte stå frem som en angrende bordellmamma, videosjapper og musikk-kiosker er brent eller truet til å stenge. Myndighetene har funnet seg i at brødrenes fanatiske tilhengere kidnapper andre mennesker: senest seks kinesere som drev akupunktur. Det ble påstått å være prostitusjon.

Pakistansk ungdom er så fed up med Musharraf og dårlige fremtidsutsikter at de er villig til å lytte til ekstremister som Ghazi-brødrene.

al Masjid has been a hub of jihadi activity since the early 1980s, when scores of mujahideen passed through on their way to and from Afghanistan. Around his twenty-second birthday, Ghazi made his first of many trips to Afghanistan, where he buddied-up with some of the jihadists who later signed Osama bin Laden’s declaration of a «World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders.» In 1998, bin Laden invited Ghazi and his father to Kandahar for a one-day meeting. Three months after they returned to Islamabad, the father was assassinated in the Lal Masjid courtyard. Ghazi blames the Pakistani intelligence agencies. Bin Laden sent a condolence letter.

Ghazi and his brother took over after that. Aziz, a madrassa graduate, delivers the Friday sermons, while Ghazi handles the media and the administration of the mosque and seminaries. Ghazi, the more worldly of the two, also plays the strategist. His vision? «The ideal form of governance is Islamic governance and it was in Afghanistan under Mullah Omar,» he explained. «I don’t like democracy. Islam is not about counting people. In democracy, the weight of one vote is the same for a man who is taking drugs and doesn’t care about his country as it is for the man with a vision for the future. The majority of people are ignorant people. This doesn’t bring us a good system.»

Although Ghazi’s ideas about the supremacy of Sharia are shared by most of the leading ulema, or religious scholars, in Pakistan, many are uncomfortable with his methods. For instance, the MMA, a hard-line coalition of several religious parties that sits in the National Assembly and governs two of Pakistan’s four provinces, has distanced itself from Lal Masjid’s violent tactics. Similarly, the examination board responsible for most madrassas in Pakistan recently cancelled the registration of Ghazi’s two seminaries. And Mufti Taqi Usmani, a scholar of immense repute who acted as pir, or spiritual guide, to Ghazi’s brother, disowned his former disciple when the latter refused to order his students to vacate the children’s library.

Ghazi doesn’t seem to care that the old guard is speaking against him. «Everywhere you look, you can see youngsters rejecting the old ones because old people do not like change,» he said. «They are rigid.» In fact, Ghazi’s power grab may represent a significant shift in the leadership of madrassa-based politics. As resentment builds against Musharraf and the West, more Pakistani youth are running to embrace those with the most radical and revolutionary message. So far, the majority of Ghazi’s support has come from Pashtuns, the ethnic group found in the Pakistani border areas and in southern Afghanistan. Two pro-Taliban mullahs from the lawless mountain region near the Afghan border, both of whom made recent news lambasting female education and a campaign to vaccinate children for polio (they claimed the vaccine was an «impotency serum,» part of an effort to wipe out Muslims), have sent letters of approval.

The Islamist in Pakistan who Musharraf won’t touch.
Radical Sheik
by Nicholas Schmidle
Only at TNR Online | Post date 06.21.07